As Ohio lawmakers consider a bill that would ban abortion at conception, one candidate for governor is trying to put the issue on the ballot.
News Center 7′s Molly Koweek looked into the process and how to amend the state constitution.
Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate and former Dayton mayor, Nan Whaley, said if voters choose her, she will work to guarantee abortion rights in Ohio.
“We have to go directly to the people.,” Whaley told News Center 7. “That’s what the supreme court has said, so let’s do that.”
Whaley has made this issue central to her campaign, and she said if she wins she will immediately start putting together a ballot initiative to codify Roe into the Ohio constitution.
“I think like most women, I was saddened that a right was just ripped away.”
However, Cedarville University History and Law Professor Marc Clauson said amending the state’s constitution is not that simple.
“The requirements are pretty complex,” Clauson said.
He explained that Whaley would first need to collect a thousand signatures that the state would need to certify.
If that happens, she needs to get signatures from 10 percent of people who voted in November.
In addition, those signatures need to come from 44 of Ohio’s 88 counties.
For some perspective, during Ohio’s last gubernatorial race, 4,496,834 people voted.
Clauson said, “that’s the easy part. The hard part is everybody gets to vote for it, and Ohio is not exactly a state that’s, let’s just say it’s not known to be liberal. It’s not always conservative in the strict sense. but it’s not liberal either.”
As for Whaley’s conservative counterpart, Governor Mike DeWine said, “those who are pro-life, including my wife, Fran, and me.”
De Wine has a record in opposition to Roe vs. Wade.
He signed the state’s heartbeat bill into law, which prohibits abortion after heartbeat detection.
It went into effect hours after the supreme court’s ruling on June 24, and that same night DeWine addressed the state.
“I believe that all Ohioans want this to be the most pro-child, pro-family state in the country,” said DeWine.
DeWine’s team rejected WHIO’s request for an interview, choosing instead to tout the work they say the governor is doing to help the state’s mothers and children.
“It doesn’t take away the fact of the matter, that this is about women having the choice to make the choice, to make decisions without having Governor Mike DeWine in the room,” said Whaley.
400-plus people showed up to the first “Dayton protest for reproductive rights” Sunday, said organizer Rachel Gannon.
“When you start infringing upon my rights as a, as a human and what I can do with my body. it’s time to finally say you know what, enough is enough,” Gannon said.
At the event, resources to help people make sure they are registered to vote.
Gannon tells News Center 7 that the event will repeat every first Sunday of the month until November’s election.
“We’re in July. November is far but it’s not far, and we can’t get complacent. and just say you know, just it is what it is, and we can’t change anything because we can. we can get to the polls. we can vote. and we can make a difference,” said Gannon.
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